CALGARY FLAMES (40-29-10) at
EDMONTON OILERS (40-34-6)
7:08 p.m. MDT
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Flames Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
|Edmonton Oilers' Jarret Stoll, right, digs for a rebound as Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, of Finland, kicks the puck away with his pad during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alberta, Saturday, March 29, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)
The home portion of the Edmonton Oilers’ regular season schedule wraps up tonight when they continue their improbable run for a playoff spot against the Calgary Flames tonight at Rexall Place.
On Saturday night, the Oilers edged the Flames 2-1 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary to keep their playoff hopes alive. A win tonight and Thursday plus some help would get the Oilers into the postseason for the first time in two years.
Edmonton’s win on Saturday temporarily put them in a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference but Vancouver’s win over the Flames on Sunday plus Nashville’s overtime loss to Detroit bumped them back to 10th.
Calgary’s quest for the Northwest Division title has been derailed with their pair of losses on the weekend to Edmonton and Vancouver. The Flames are now five points behind division-leading Minnesota but do hold a game in hand and face the Wild one more time on Thursday.
This is the eighth meeting of the season between the Oilers and Flames. Edmonton has won four times while the Flames have won three.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATE (11:45 AM):
Joni Pitkanen is in for tonight while Mathieu Garon showed some improvement but will not dress this evening.
OILERS TO WATCH: Sam Gagner
and Ales Hemsky
are tied for the Oilers’ lead in points against the Flames this season. Both players have six points in seven games played. Hemsky is third on the Oilers with a career-high 20 goals on the season and leads the team with 71 points… Hemsky assisted on Dustin Penner
’s goal on Saturday night. Penner now has two goals in seven games this season against Calgary plus a pair of assists. The other Oiler who scored on Saturday was defenceman Denis Grebeshkov. The Russian blueliner has four of his 18 points in his last six games. He has played 19 minutes or more per game in each of the last 12 contests and with a zero plus/minus rating, he leads all Oilers defencemen in that category.
FLAMES TO WATCH:
Kristian Huselius was a healthy scratch Tuesday against Vancouver after a stretch of three straight games where he saw less than 10 minutes of ice time. Prior to that stretch he was actually playing better with three goals and five points in four games. Before that, he went 20 straight games without scoring a goal. Huselius is still Calgary's number two point-getter behind Iginla with 65 points in 78 games. He played 18:39 Saturday against the Oilers but again only 9:03 Sunday in Vancouver... With 29 goals, Daymond Langkow is aiming for his second consecutive 30-plus goal season. He ranks second on the Flames in goals scored... In seven games against the Oilers this season, Jarome Iginla only has two goals but he leads the Flames with seven points. Iginla is making a case for himself as the Hart Trophy winner ranking third in the NHL with 49 goals and fourth with 94 points in 79 games. He's one goal away from the second 50-goal season of his career though he’s come up empty in each of the last two games since scoring number 49.
Edmonton – Joni Pitkanen (groin) is probable. Mathieu Garon (ankle) is doubtful. Geoff Sanderson (back) is doubtful. Ethan Moreau (broken leg) is out. Shawn Horcoff
(shoulder) is out. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; Calgary – Rhett Warrener (knee) is questionable. Daymond Langkow (personal reasons) is probable.
Head-to-head against the Flames this season, Edmonton has scored 16 goals. Eight of those goals have come in the third period while only two have come in the second period. Calgary has scored 15 times against Edmonton – three in the first, five in the second and seven in the third… Calgary has lost 116 man games due to injury this season, compared to a franchise-record 334 (and counting) for Edmonton... In 185 all-time meetings between these provincial rivals, the Oilers have a record of 81-84-19-1 with Calgary outscoring Edmonton 651-629... In the Oilers' last 17 games, they are 13-4-1 with nine of those 13 wins being by a single goal. Overall, the Oilers are 24-13 in one-goal games this season. The Oilers have picked up at least a point in 37 of their last 58 games with a record of 32-21-5 since November 24... Calgary is four points behind last season's pace where they had 94 points through 79 games but last season it took 96 points to make the playoffs in the eighth seed while this season it's projecting to be fewer than that. In fact, the Flames could win the Northwest Division with fewer points than they earned in 2006-07 despite being the eighth seed last year.
- Pre-game comments from Pitkanen, Gagner, Penner, Stoll, Nilsson, Glencross & MacTavish: 700K
- Garon, Stortini, Gilbert, Nilsson & MacTavish spoke with the media following practice: 700K
Canucks, Predators, Oilers and Flames battle for position in the Western Conference
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The Other Side
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From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Download your April wallpaper! - Follow the link to download your Edmonton Oilers April wallpaper as the NHL calendar flips over into the month of April. ...more
From the Wire
The Edmonton Oilers kept their playoff hopes alive in their last game with a win over the Calgary Flames, one of nine teams ahead of them in the Western Conference.
Three days later, they face the exact same challenge.
Edmonton hosts Calgary on Tuesday, needing to defeat its Northwest Division rival a second time in four days to stay alive in the race for the West's final playoff spot.
The Oilers (40-34-6) are last in the Northwest with 86 points, but with two games to play, can still qualify for the postseason for the first time since their run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2005-06.
To do that, they'll need to win both of their remaining games. Edmonton enters play Tuesday with 86 points, two behind eighth-place Vancouver and one back of ninth-place Nashville. The Oilers' final game is in Vancouver on Thursday night.
First up for Edmonton is the finale in its season series with Calgary (40-29-10). The Oilers trailed the Flames 1-0 in the third period Saturday, but Denis Grebeshkov tied it and Dustin Penner's power-play goal midway through the third was the winner in a 2-1 victory.
"It's pretty special," Penner said of his team-leading 23rd goal. "It's one of those goals you look back on. We'll see how it turns out. We've got two more games, then maybe I'll be able to talk (more) about that one after."
Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson had been struggling prior to the game in Calgary, going 3-2-1 in his last six starts but posting a 3.80 goals-against average. The Oilers scored 26 goals in those six contests, but when they were relatively quiet offensively Saturday, Roloson stepped up with 32 saves.
Only two Western Conference teams have more goals than Edmonton's 231, a number the Oilers have achieved with balance. Eleven Edmonton players have at least 10 goals.
Right wing Ales Hemsky, who leads the team with 71 points, assisted on both goals Saturday. He has two goals and four assists in his last four games against the Flames.
Calgary is in seventh place in the West, and while it can't earn home-ice advantage in the first round, picking up points in its final three games could help it avoid an opening matchup with league-leading Detroit or red-hot San Jose. The Flames trail sixth-place Colorado by one point.
Calgary, though, has lost three of four, scoring just six goals in those games.
While the Oilers haven't played since Saturday, the Flames traveled to Vancouver on Sunday. They led 2-1 near the end of the first period, but didn't score again in a 6-2 loss.
"It has to bother you," coach Mike Keenan said. "If it doesn't bother you at this point, then you don't have much of a passion for winning. Our defensive zone coverage was real poor down low."
Miikka Kiprusoff, whose 38 wins are third most in the NHL, was pulled midway through the second period.
Jarome Iginla's next goal will give him his first season with 50 since 2001. The West's goal leader, however, hasn't scored in the Flames' last three losses, and Calgary is 14-23-7 when Iginla doesn't record a goal.
Iginla has two goals and five assists against Edmonton this season.
The Oilers lead the season series 4-3.